by Will Atkinson on January 7, 2012 at 5:30pm
A garden is an investment. You invest your time, certainly, but you also invest your money. While it can be expensive to put in a garden it doesn’t have to be.
We moved into this house three years ago and until now I haven’t had the time required to put in a proper garden. After measuring the area that was to become our outdoor pantry I estimated a one-time expense of over $300 to put in raised beds using cedar planks. I chose cedar because of its natural insect repellent properties, as well as its availability and low cost. At first I thought that I’d need to put in 1″ X 6″ planks, but after watching the excellent tutorials on building raised beds from John at Growing Your Greens I was confident that cedar fencing would work just fine. Then I had a thought- I wondered if I could get used, weathered but still viable cedar fencing for free?
I called a local fence company and sure enough, all I have to do is show up and I can get all of the free fencing I desire. Whenever a fence company replaces a fence they have to do one of several things with the old material:
- Haul it off to the dump. There are fees, which cut into the profits.
- Put the old wood into a shredder and turn it into mulch. This would be a good use for cedar fencing, but they’d still have to pay someone to remove all of the nails in order to avoid damaging the expensive blades in the shredder. Increased labor costs equate to decreased profits.
- Let the boards pile up in a corner of the lot where the fence company is located. Not ideal- in addition to being a fire hazard, it would take years for the boards to break down and become soil. In one busy season they’d be overwhelmed with old fencing.
- Allow gardeners and do-it-yourselfer types to pick through the piles and re-purpose the cedar boards for free.
This makes me happy. Not only have I just saved over $300, I’m doing something good for the environment by recycling.